Israel rights group ends working with military

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An image grab taken from a video released on March 24, 2016 by B’Tselem, an Israeli non-governmental rights organization, shows an Israeli soldier aiming his weapon before shooting a wounded and already-subdued Palestinian in the head, killing him. (Photo by AFP)

A leading Israeli rights group says it has lost all faith in the regime’s military justice system, saying it virtually legitimizes crimes by Israeli forces.
B’Tselem announced on Wednesday that it will stop cooperating with the Israeli military on behalf of Palestinian victims as it unveiled an 80-page report.
The decision is particularly significant because Palestinian victims of violence by Israelis security forces largely rely on Israeli human rights groups to file complaints on their behalf.
Citing 25 years of experience working with Tel Aviv, the organization said the Israeli military system is a “whitewash mechanism” which acts only to “cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators.”
B’Tselem submitted the announcement in writing to the Israeli military, thus terminating its quarter-century-long collaboration with the Military Police Investigations Unit (MPIU). 
“There is no longer any point in pursuing justice and defending human rights by working with a system whose real function is measured by its ability to continue to successfully cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators,” it said.
It said the MPIU had looked into only 25 out of the 739 cases the group had referred to it for investigation since 2000, which equals three percent of the total references.
At least 70 percent of those cases ended without military investigators taking any action whatsoever, it added.
The organization, hence, concluded that the purported law enforcement process was riddled with “systemic failures which are neither random, nor case specific,” suggesting that the loopholes have been created intentionally.
The group accused the MPIU of administering a travesty of justice and contributing to the immunity of top military and political authorities, and, therefore, sustaining the Tel Aviv regime’s occupation of Palestinian territory.
“The semblance of a functioning justice system allows Israeli officials to deny claims made both in Israel and abroad that Israel does not enforce the law on soldiers who harm Palestinians,” B’Tselem said. “These appearances also help grant legitimacy — both in Israel and abroad — to the continuation of the occupation.”

A Palestinian man carrying a child walks past buildings destroyed during Israel’s 50-day war against the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, in Gaza City, April 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Two years ago, B’Tselem had ended cooperation with the Israeli military in the latter’s investigation of the crimes committed by Israeli troops during the Gaza war of 2014.
The 50-day-long war, which started on July 8, 2014, killed 2,140 Palestinians and wreaked huge destruction on the enclave. Back at the time, the rights group had declared the purported law enforcement system’s examination of the acts of violence committed by the troops as “a complete failure.”

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